Trump’s anti-environment agenda

The White House’s official home page no longer contains information about climate change. And the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency are prohibited from speaking to the media.

President Donald Trump also has promised to slash government regulations by 75 percent, especially those pertaining to enforcement of environmental laws. Trump constantly condemns the word regulation, but most Americans support maintaining strong enforcement of environmental laws.

Oil spills illustrate the critical importance of the Environmental Protection Agency. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill not only killed 11 people, but for 87 days leaked more than 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. After the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that BP’s safety documentation and emergency procedures had violated its regulations, the company was fined more than $10 billion for massive economic and environmental damage. Smaller oil spills are routine. In January, a Canadian pipeline leaked more than 50,000 gallons. Thousands of miles of vulnerable pipelines now crisscross the United States.

I have to question Trump’s motives for attacking environmental regulations. Scott Pruitt, who Trump nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, has repeatedly sued the agency, and he has said that the climate change debate is “ far from settled.” While millions of Americans now oppose Pruitt, we must oppose Trump. He seems determined to undo most if not all environmental protections that address our health, safety and sustainability.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

Trump’s voter fraud claim

Is our government legitimate? If the president is correct and there were 3 million votes cast that were illegal, then our government, and in fact all results of the November election, are suspect and our elected government is illegal.

This is a huge deal. President Donald Trump is no longer a loud developer from New York. He is the president of the United States and what he has said is now a matter of historical record.

Right now, this issue must be resolved once and for all. The press and all voters must hold him to account and must force him to produce proof that in fact the election was illegal. Or he must admit he deliberately made a false statement or an allegation that was in fact not supported by facts.

This issue is the single most important issue before the nation and it potentially affects not only the United States, but the entire world. The democratic republic that we are is in grave jeopardy and its true status must be established once and for all, today.

The Bangor Daily News and all of us must demand the truth, not the “alternate truth” but the empirical, factual truth right now.

Roger Woodbury

Morrill

Muslims contribute to our society

I am vigorously opposed to President Donald Trump’s executive order prohibiting refugees and travelers from several majority Muslim nations from entering the country.

My grandparents fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. Many of the Muslims who come here are also seeking safety from war-torn areas and religious persecution. This nation was built by immigrants, and we still need the vitality and skills that immigrants from all over the world can bring to us.

As a psychiatrist in a rural state, I am keenly aware that our medical facilities rely on foreign physicians to maintain necessary staffing levels. It has been my very great privilege to work with doctors from many countries, including practitioners of Islam, who bring vital expertise.

The medical and mental health care system in my city and state simply could not run without the key contributions of medical professionals who practice Islam. We need them, and we need to express our appreciation to those who have traveled so far and adapted to a new way of life to contribute so much.

Eve Wolinsky

Orono

Sessions lacks empathy

Given how sharply divided and polarized our country is we need leaders who will heal that divide, Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to serve as U.S. attorney general, is not likely to help us toward that goal.

When she introduced him before his confirmation hearing, Sen. Susan Collins said that “she has never witnessed anything to suggest that Senator Sessions is other than a fair minded man,” but Collins appears to not understand that many Americans believe he is biased and fear his bias will adversely affect them. She seems to be putting her long friendship with Sessions ahead of her responsibility to all citizens.

This fear is not unfounded since Sessions has shown a marked lack of empathy toward blacks, women, homosexuals, Muslims and even disabled children. When asked about Donald Trump’s crass comments about grabbing women’s genitals without consent, he said: “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch.”

Collins said, “Senator Sessions testified that the Attorney General must be willing to tell the President ‘no’ if he overreaches.” But, to be able to do that, it is necessary that the attorney general recognize overreach, which in Sessions’ case I have doubts. Under a Sessions’ Department of Justice, I fear we will have stricter voting laws that further reduce voter participation (and, as a result, reduce the legitimacy of elected officials), support for laws targeting Muslims, and weaker laws protecting minority, homosexual and women’s rights.

Kristen Salvatore

Richmond

Travel ban un-Christian

As a Christian minister, I was horrified to hear of President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from several majority Muslim nations. He should read the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan who was “good” was a foreigner and was someone who had a different religious tradition.

Trump’s ban on our global neighbors is completely contradictory to Christian faith and to American values. We are a nation that seeks not to discriminate on the basis of religion or no religion.

I also want him to know that to be a Christian is to love God with one’s whole being and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Our neighbors extend to those who are different from us.

In one week, he has shredded our deepest values: “Give us the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Thankfully, we are a nation of people committed to equality, hope, compassion and justice. He can sign this executive order, but it will not stand.

Rev. Allison C. G. Smith

United Church of Christ

Harpswell